Ready for another season!

Tommy Thompson Park's bird research coordinator, Nigel Shaw, has been busy these past few days. Broom in hand, he sweeps away dust and spider webs that have accumulated over the summer. Refilling supplies, repairing and setting up mist nest are also on his list of things to do. Being prepared for the upcoming fall migration monitoring season is essential for the station's success.

Once the housekeeping is complete, Nigel organizes the volunteers. This dedicated group of birding enthusiasts are the cogs and gears that allow for the smooth operation of the research station. Up at the crack of dawn and at the park before sunrise, these volunteers have the unique experience of being in Toronto's Urban Wilderness at its most magical time of day. This year, a dozen volunteers will assist Nigel during the fall migration. While some are valuable, experienced volunteers, a few new eager volunteers have joined the roster. With training and by shadowing others, they will learn how to delicately extract birds from the mist nests, how to correctly identify and record avian features as well as how to safely handle and place bands on a variety of bird species.

Only a few hours into the first day of monitoring, Nigel reports that mostly resident breeding birds have been banded. Resident species include flycatchers, chickadees and vireos. Migrant species like the Least Sandpiper and Cedar Waxwing have also been recorded and banded.

The team at the Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station (TTPBRS) invites guests to stop in when visiting the park on weekends. The station is open till noon (whether dependent) and is located on Peninsula D on the west side of the park.

As a volunteer bases monitoring station, TTPBRS needs ongoing donations from its supporters. To learn more about how to contribute to the station's success and to become a member, please visit The Living City Foundation to sign up.